The Disruptors is a series of short stories of customer innovation from around the world.
Heinz puts SAP HANA in the cloud to boost global efficiency. So what?
The H. J. Heinz company based in Pittsburgh, USA, has a long history of innovation. In the 1860s the company started using clear bottles so customers could see the purity of their ketchup product while competitors used dark bottles to hide their use of fillers, and Heinz played a critical role in the enactment of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act. Later, the company established a breeding program to grow tomato varieties designed specifically for ketchup.
Today, the company sends 6 billion seeds annually to the farmers growing their tomatoes, and each tomato in a bottle of Heinz ketchup, from seed to vine to bottle, can be chronicled through a code on the cap. Such intense focus on quality is what makes Heinz a powerful brand that has earned the right to be called innovative.
Keeping it simple in the cloud
As the company grew, it faced challenges to integrate the disparate sources of data running across its many on-premise business intelligence platforms. It needed a single system to provide real-time visibility. Heinz deployed SAP HANA on Virtustream’s xStream platform as a service (PaaS) infrastructure to boost efficiency and because the cloud offered a simple way to manage change on a global scale.
“Heinz will not only see significant cost savings in the cloud, but they will also realize revenue-driving potential in the PaaS infrastructure,” said Rodney Rogers, Chairman and CEO of Virtustream, in an interview with ComputerWeekly.com.
What can be done with money saved in the cloud?
If you drive efficiencies and decrease costs in IT infrastructure, it releases money to be spent on new technologies and innovations.
Companies like Heinz know their long-term success depends on innovation, and with resources shrinking around the world, it must be sustainable. For example, through a partnership with The Coca-Cola Company, Heinz started bottling ketchup with PlantBottle™ packaging, which uses up to 30 percent renewable plant-based material. This approach will help Heinz achieve its goal to reduce total packaging material 15% by the end of 2015. Coca-Cola’s 2020 vision for packaging is to use PlantBottle™ technology entirely, thereby significantly reducing their environmental footprint.
Such global giants have enough clout to change the way we manage resources and solve environmental issues much more rapidly than government policies which might take years to implement. A new study indicates that since McDonald’s and other companies stopped buying chickens fed with soy grown in the Amazon, the percentage of Brazilian rainforest logged to raise the crop has plummeted. The resulting pressure on the soy traders drove them to change where they bought soy and stop financing new soy plantations in the rainforest.
Sustainability for the future
Companies like Heinz use technology like SAP HANA in the cloud to save money on operations and drive more revenue. So even if just a small portion of cost savings is invested in innovative sustainability programs for renewable energy, water stewardship, and agriculture, that can have massive impact on the energy and climate landscape of the future.